To Seek the origin of the Century Silver Cup we must back pedal to a time long before gel bars, Iso drinks and sportives, to a period when the annual club events consisted of two 25 mile Time Trials, two 50 mile Time Trials and a 100 mile Time Trial all of which were used to determine the Club Championship. Looking through the club archives for this period it is clear that the idea of organising an Open 100 mile TT had become a clubroom topic. Thus, at a Committee Meeting on the 3rd March 1946 the suggestion was put forward to run such an event from 1947, plus the setting up of a fund for a Challenge Trophy.
Various Monthly and Committee Meetings followed at 62 Hope St, Liverpool to decide on event name, Course, date, time of start and event organiser. Finally, at the Monthly Meeting on 17th September 1946 the agreed details were as follows: event name; The Liverpool Century Road Club Open 100; to be run on the LTTCA Cheshire course on Sunday 31st August 1947 with a 0600 hrs start. Event Secretary would be Frank Conlan a Vice Chairman, who at the time was still a member of Wartime HM Forces. However, at the Monthly Meeting on 15th October 1946 Committee Member R.J Corris reported that “an emergency meeting of the Open 100 Committee had been called with the Committee agreeing to apply to the RTTC for permission to run the National Championship 100 which had been allocated to the Liverpool District.” This was not to be as the delegate’s report at the Club Meeting on 17th December 1947 stated “application to run the National Championship 100 was turned down at the AGM of the LTTCA by votes of 18 against to 4 in favour. ” This meant that no particular club would have the honour and privilege of running this event as the task would be spread across Merseyside Clubs. So, the first LCRC Open 100 would go ahead as previously decided “whilst the money in the Armed Forces Fund to be transferred to the Open 100 fund and used in yearly sums not exceeding £5 until exhausted. ”
Five months before the day of the 100 Ossie Dover (future Club President) at the Monthly Meeting of 18th March asked “was it the intention of the club to allow trykes to enter?” It took until an Open 100 Committee Meeting on the 3rd May the following year for Ossie to have his question answered in that “up to 5 trykes would be allowed in the 1948 event. ”
With the event HQ at the “Red Lion” Christleton the club ran the first Liverpool Century Road Club Open 100 on the 31st August 1947 in which the Phoenix C C claimed the fastest team award. In his Report at the Monthly Meeting of the 16th September the Event Secretary recalled “an excellent event attracting an entry of 82 riders most of whom had been local riders but a number of outside riders had taken part. Nine Century rid-ers had started and six finished with creditable times. However, at this point there is no mention of the afore mentioned Challenge Cup, but records show this would be on the agenda for the next AGM.
10th February 1948 and the 33rd AGM held at Derby House, Rodney St, Liverpool we see the next mention of this Challenge Trophy when “Honory Life Members proposed to offer the Club a silver cup to be awarded an-nually to the winners of the fastest team in the LCRC Open 100. ” The following week at the Monthly Meeting the Century Silver Cup was put to the floor. The motion was carried with one dissenter ! Thus, the second Open 100 on Sunday 27th June 1948 the trophy was awarded for the first time to the Nelson Wheelers with a team winning time of 14h-10m-31s. Regardless of this first award and under any other business at the Monthly Meeting of 19th October 1948 “it was agreed that the Century Silver Cup be offered to the 1947 Phoenix winning team in retrospect. ” Club archives now record that the first team to win the Century Silver Cup/ Life Members Trophy is in fact the Phoenix C C with a time of 14h-32m-45s. These same archives show that the club had to wait a further eight years before the LCRC claim their first win of this trophy when on the 24th June 1956 club riders P. Gilroy, P. Swidenbank and N.E Jones produced the fastest team time with 13h-43m-OOs. Moving forward to the 1960s and a letter from the RTTC put to club members at the Monthly Meeting in Memphis Hall, Liverpool on 20th July 1966 asking if the club “would be willing to promote the Men’s Na-tional Championship 100 in 1967 on behalf of the Liverpool District RTTC. ” The response was an over-whelming vote in favour with Chairman Geoff Bewley as Event Secretary. So, unlike 1946 when the club’s application to run the National 100 in 1947 had been turned down the Century now had the honour to organise and run this prestigious event.
With the organising wheels in motion and a letter from the Army expressing their willingness to provide ra-dio communication at 50 mls, 75 mls and finish, Waverton Cricket Club agreed for their pavillion to be used as event HQ for a cost of £2 whilst the Australian Sultana Board would supply their product and Ffyfes donating bananas for the riders. Such organisation and build up to the event, due to be held on Sunday 16th July 1967 appeared to look problem free and yet shortly before the deadline for en-trance forms Geoff Bewley reporting at the Monthly Meeting of 23rd June relayed his concern that “up to date only three entries had been received.” Contacting various clubs to encourage riders to enter proved fruitful as the final number climbed to seventy five for the event. Nonetheless, even though a letter from the RTTC declaring that “the club was to be congratulated on a successful running of the National 100” doubts on the continuation of the LCRC Open 100 were being raised even as the Clifton C C with a team winning time of 12h-49m-14s carried the Century Silver Cup over the pennines back to Yorkshire. Ossie Dover in his Monthly Presidential Preambles wrote “with only 75 entries in our Open 100 one won-ders what field we would have got if it had not been the National Champioship. We shall have to give the Open 100 very serious thought for the coming season. ”
Indeed, although club riders R.S. Davies, G.Darlington and K.Apter made it a second win for this Life Members Trophy on the 14th July 1968, their winning time of 14h-15m- 42s did not prevent Event Sec-retary Geoff Bewley raising the issue of the event’s continuation at the Monthly Meeting on 26th July 1968 claiming that “he was very pleased to see the club winning the team prize but was concerned over the low number of entries. ” Two months later at the Meeting of 27th September it was finalised that “this event would not be held in 1969 and the situation would be reviewed. This was due to the decreasing number of entries in recent years meaning that there were more marshals than riders.” This decision resulted in the Century Silver Cup/Life Members Trophy being laid up for the following eight years.
Whilst gathering dust over these years the trophy then re-appears with an identity change when a proposition from Road Race Secretary G. Darlington at the 59th AGM on Sunday 13th January 1974 is re-corded as “that the Open 100 Rose Bowl to be awarded to the fastest team in the annual Open 50 with ap-proval of the donors of the trophy. ” The two remaining Life Members, A. Cox and T.A. Prescot, each having served terms of both President and Chairman ranging from the 1920s to the 1960s agreed to this change providing the inscription on the trophy remained unchanged. That insciption being Liverpool Cen-tury Road Club 1947. The 50 went ahead in the summer of 1974 but suffered the same fate as the Open 100 when a lack of entries resulted in the non-awarding of the trophy and to abandon the running of the event in the future. A re-think and its conclusion was put forward at the 60th AGM on Sunday 15th December 1974 that “subject to the permission of the Donors (as with the previous AGM ) the Rose Bowl is to now be awarded to the fastest team in the club’s Open 25. ” With the motion passed and permission granted the trophy was presented in its new format to the Merseyside Wheelers team that had produced the winning time of 3h-04m-27s in the 1977 LCRC Open 25.
Sadly, with the Time Trial scene in the doldrums nationwide further change became inevitable with ever decreasing entries even for the most popular 25m TT. So, after the team from the Manchester Wheelers produced the fastest time of the day in 2h-25m-20s in the summer of 1986 this trophy once again experienced a further review. At a Special General Meeting on the 21st April 1987 under rule 54 the motion passed meant that “The Life Members Trophy, presently awarded to the best team in the Oscar Do-ver Memorial 25 is to now be awarded annually for the fastest 100m TT by a club rider. ” When a time of 4h-22m-33s recorded by A.Crotty in 1987 proved to be the fastest of the year the trophy in its new look had its first recipient. Present Club Champion T.Murphy with his 4h-08m-19 is the current holder of this Century Silver Cup / Life Members Trophy / Rose Bowl.
Take your pick !